Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola has reached an agreement with FC Bayern München to manage the football team as from next season until 2016. After quitting FC Barcelona in June to take a year’s sabbatical, Guardiola had become the most wanted coach for football clubs the world over. Finally, after rumours circulated pairing him with Manchester City and Chelsea, the Catalan has chosen the German club for its way of understanding football, which is much closer to his approach based on attacking, playing nicely and working with home-grown players. He will be replacing Jupp Heynckes, who is retiring at the end of the current season, in Munich. The news has been heartily welcomed by the Bayern Munich players and the president, as well as by German media. Guardiola became the most respected coach worldwide after successfully managing FC Barcelona for the last four seasons, during which the Catalan team won 2 UEFA Champions League, 2 FIFA Club World Cups, 3 Spanish Leagues, 3 Spanish Cups, 2 UEFA Super Cups and 3 Spanish Super Cups. In fact, it has been considered by many football fans and experts to be the best team in the world for the last few years for the way they play – with Leo Messi at the forefront – and the results achieved. In addition, Guardiola has won many individual awards as coach, such as the FIFA World Coach of the Year in 2011. He also had a successful career as player, when he played as a defensive midfielder in Barça’s ‘Dream Team’ managed by Johan Cruyff. He was Barça’s ‘brain’ on the pitch and that team won 6 Spanish Leagues and 1 European Cup, among many other trophies.
Pep Guardiola is starting with a club, Bayern Munich, that, like FC Barcelona, is also famous for its football school. In fact, Guardiola himself is a product of Barça’s school ‘La Masia’, which he joined when he was only 13, after spending his childhood in birth-town Santpedor (Central Catalonia). Johan Cruyff discovered Guardiola in Barça’s youth team and in 1990 moved him to the first team, where he became an essential player during the 1991-1992 season and those to follow. In Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’, Guardiola was ‘the brains’, the pivot leading the rest of the players on the pitch. In fact, other great midfielders who later graduated from Barça’s academy include Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Cesc Fàbregas, who have all confessed that Guardiola was a role model for them. Guardiola considers himself to be a pupil of Johan Cruyff’s style and understanding of how to play football, always attacking, constantly passing the ball, playing with fair play and basing the team on home-grown players.
As a player, Pep Guardiola won 6 Spanish Leagues (1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1997–98, 1998–99), 2 Spanish Cups (1996–97, 1997–98), 4 Spanish Super Cups (1991, 1992, 1994, 1996), 1 European Cup (1991–92) – today’s UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1996–97) and 2 UEFA Super Cups (1992, 1997). In addition, he won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1992 with the Spanish team. After his successful career as a player, Guardiola left FC Barcelona in 2001 at the age of 30 and played in Italy, for Brescia and Roma. Then in 2003 he moved to Qatar to play with Doha’s Al-Ahli. In 2006 he played for the Mexican side Dorados de Sinaloa for six months and then he retired as a player. While in Mexico he attended coaching school.
In June 2007, Guardiola was appointed as Manager of FC Barcelona’s B team with Tito Vilanova as his assistant. A year later, both coaches were given the reins of Barça’s first team. In his first season as Barça’s boss in 2008-2009, Guardiola won the 3 main titles (League, Cup and Champions League) and in 2009 he won the FIFA Club World Cup as well as the European and Spanish Super Cups, meaning 6 trophies out of the 6 competitions he played in. In fact, in his career as Barça coach, Guardiola won 14 titles in the 19 competitions Barça played, becoming the most successful coach ever to manage the Catalan team. On top of this, he made sure that FC Barcelona was considered by all football experts to be the best team in the world. However, last year in Barça, Guardiola started to feel tired because of the pressure and the intense work. “I emptied myself” he stated when announcing he was quitting FC Barcelona to take a year’s sabbatical, and moved to New York with his family. Now, he stated he misses football again and he is ready to take a new challenge.